Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Rep. Steve Cohen says he'll boycott Trump inauguration

January 16, 2017
In The News

, poe@commercialappeal.com Published 10:39 a.m. CT Jan. 16, 2017 |

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen announced Monday in Memphis he will boycott President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration in solidarity with civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis.

At the Be the Dream celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Cohen derided Trump for numerous personal attacks on well-known figures from actress Meryl Streep — "a saint in many people's eyes" — to Lewis. Lewis recently said Trump was not a "legitimate president," prompting Trump to Tweet, among other things, that Lewis was "All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!"

Lewis, who was beaten by police as he marched for equality in Alabama, is boycotting the inauguration, along with a growing number of Democrats. Cohen, who previously expressed hopes of working with Trump's administration, said the remarks about Lewis "crossed the Rubicon" and that Trump "does not deserve" to be president.

"The dream is turning into a nightmare," Cohen said, alluding to King's famed "I have a dream" speech.

Trump's inauguration is scheduled for Friday in Washington, D.C.

Cohen also called out Trump for seeking to discredit Barack Obama's presidency by pushing "birther" conspiracy theories — theories that Obama is not a natural-born citizen, a requirement to become president.

"That was racism, and it was a lie, and it was fake news, and it was wrong," Cohen said.

Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland, who headed up Trump's campaign in West Tennessee, tweeted in response that he would represent Cohen's district at the inauguration. "Maybe I can be more effective," he added.